Best time to visit the Peruvian Amazon

There are two seasons in the Amazon: wet and wetter. When you choose to travel will depend on whether you want to see more of Peru.
Peru might have a varied climate, but the Amazon is always hot and wet. Monthly temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C. May to September is often considered the best time to visit the Amazon, when the forest sees less rainfall and thirsty wildlife gathers on the drier riverbanks, but the rainy season has its highlights too. Overtourism is a problem for Peru – one that’s starting to spread to the Amazon. Responsible travelers should look to the shoulder season and avoid the main summer months and school vacations. Traveling at a quieter time will be better for both you and the places you visit.

Things to do in the Peruvian Amazon

Things to do in the Peruvian Amazon

Take the kids. “The Peruvian Amazon is definitely family-friendly,” says Kathy Jarvis from our Peru travel specialists Andean Trails. Lodges that are specifically set up to cater for families have dedicated guides, trails and activities for younger travelers. However, Kathy doesn’t recommend taking children under eight unless you know your child would be happy on the long river journeys required to reach the lodges. “Not all kids will be great on a six-hour boat trip. But kids that are interested, and can keep quiet, would find it amazing.” Your choice of accommodation is important if you want to feel truly immersed in the Amazon. The only way to achieve this is to stay in an eco lodge. Often built from indigenous materials in muted colours, and using environmentally sustainable initiatives, they blend in with the local flora and fauna, meaning guests wake up to the sound of birdsong and are surrounded by animals. By staying in an eco lodge owned by local communities, or one that supports a research center, your visit directly contributes to conservation and community life. Peru is a very popular destination and the mass tourism that troubles Machu Picchu is starting to affect the Amazon too. If you’re a flexible traveler then travel off-peak and enjoy the fact that the rainforest is a fascinating experience at any time of the year. Putting up with a little more rain means seeing the Amazon at its greenest, while raised river levels will lift your boat up higher into the jungle canopy for an elevated view of your surroundings.

Things not  to do in the Peruvian Amazon

Forget to do your research. With the future of the Amazon rainforest under threat, it’s important for travelers to ensure that any vacation they book is protecting it by helping the local economy and furthering conservation efforts. You can do this by booking with our responsible tour companies that hire and train local people, source food locally and do as little to disrupt the wildlife as possible. You can also make a hands-on contribution to their work by booking an Amazon conservation vacation in Peru. Amazon wildlife is at its most active in the early morning and at night, so don’t plan on too many early nights or lie-ins. Night walks and boat trips are great for spotting caiman and piranhas, their eyes glinting under the flash of a torch light, or for trying to identify the curious croaks and noises made by toads and tree frogs. Local guides, who know the rainforest like the back of their hand, can sense when something is around and will help you spot elusive birds and animals in the dim light. Set your heart on seeing a particular animal. Despite the abundance of wildlife in the Amazon, no tour guide could guarantee a specific animal or bird sighting. Instead, what you can expect is several days spent exploring the forest on foot and by canoe, all the while surrounded by raucous calls, songs and the sound of rustling leaves. Of course, some wildlife is guaranteed; it’ll just be a surprise what you see.

Our top Peruvian Amazon Vacation

Peru Amazon family adventure with teenagers

Peru Amazon family adventure with teenagers

Energetic Amazon adventure vacation for teenagers and parents

From US $925 4 days ex flights
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Peruvian Amazon travel advice

Kathy Jarvis, from our Amazon vacation partner Andean Trails, on what to expect during your vacation to the Peruvian Amazon.

Wildlife

“When it comes to wildlife sightings, there’s such an element of luck involved. I always recommend that people stay as long as they possibly can and really try and relax, and wander some of the trails by yourself if you can. And everything’s always better first thing in the morning. All the Amazon lodges get you up at 5am to go out and do a walk before breakfast, but I would always do those because that’s when you’re going to see things.”

Accommodation

“The best lodges for wildlife are the ones furthest away from main settlements and in areas that are more protected. You’re going to see monkeys and birds, insects and possibly snakes and spiders at all the lodges. But for chances of seeing more you need to go in deeper.”

Creepy crawlies

“Some people think they’re not going to like it because of insects, mosquitoes and spiders, but I’ve always found that you don’t have much of an issue with mosquitoes in the lodges because you always have mosquito nets to sleep under and mosquitoes generally don’t come into the buildings. It’s the same with snakes and spiders: you have to really go looking for those creatures; they’re not going to be slithering around your feet.”
Tristan Whitworth, from our Amazon vacation partner Natural World Safaris, has some advice on the practicalities of a Peruvian Amazon vacation.

When to go

“I went in September, which is the dry season. It’s a good time to go because the water levels are low, so lots of wildlife congregates around the riverbanks, which you can see from your boat. That being said, we consider the Amazon to be a year-round destination. There’s lots to see in the green season, from birdlife to flowering trees and monkey activity.”

Local guides

“It’s really important to trust the people you’re visiting the jungle with. The guides who are there with you know this ecosystem like their own back garden, so you’re in safe hands. That’s the best way to have peace of mind and follow them on the trail.”

Peruvian Amazon travel tips
from our travelers

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful tips for vacations in the Peruvian Amazon that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation – and the space inside your suitcase.
Get stuck in! You’ll only get out what you put in. Make friends and get your hands dirty. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about doing it.
– Jemma Paek on our small group vacation in the Peruvian Amazon
“A camera, comfy inner soles, good head torch, organic mosquito repellent and waterproof bags were the items I was most glad I had!” – William Haward on our rainforest conservation vacation in the Peruvian Amazon

“The country was beautiful and we always felt safe. Check the weather before you go. Different regions have very different temperatures and dressy clothes are not needed anywhere – even at very nice restaurants, it seems. Have enough on hand for tips, purchases, meals, etc. We’d recommend 500 USD.” – Dee Bertino on our Peruvian Amazon family vacation

“The kit list can look daunting, but pack what is recommended as there are huge changes in conditions between the high Andes and the Amazon – no smart clothes needed for either!” – Kathy Atherton on our Peruvian Amazon family adventure with teenagers
Written by Bryony Cottam
Photo credits: [Page banner: Christian Vinces] [Top box: anoldent] [Things to do and not do do: chany crystal] [Guide: Murray Foubister] [Forest walk: Eli Duke]